Call it what you will—rationalization, delusion, or flat-out craziness—but the fact is, for those of us either choosing to remain the “frozen chosen” here in the North or having been relegated to that unenviable state, a great book encountered on a winter’s eve is a delight to savor. Thanks to Dr. Kevin Nelson, one of my fly fishing clients, this winter I’ve read and reread passages, even multiple pages, from the pen of Ted Leeson. Starting with his Habits of Rivers and now having finished with no small regret his latest book, Inventing Montana, I find myself reflecting that I’ve not experienced this much pleasure with a piece of sporting literature since I first read Robert Traver’s iconic Trout Magic decades past.
With Inventing Montana, Leeson shares what makes Montana, Montana. The sum of location on the banks of the Madison, friends who live the summers there with him, the experiences and conversations, the food, the locals, the wildlife and, yes, the trout and fly fishing meld into Leeson’s Montana—a reality unique to him. By inference, Leeson leads one to reflect on one’s own “Montana”—that similar sum of it all that each of us blessed enough to live, treasures so dearly.
For me, “Montana” is the family cottage in Leland, though fast upon it is the Muskegon River with its glides and runs so rich in memory and promise. Then, too, the Muskegon River Lodge, scarcely little more than a year old, already evokes “Montana” for me. Perhaps, you, too, hold fast to your “Montana.” More power to you, and if so, here’s a bet: Inventing Montana will crease a smile on your face and a lift a song in your heart, too.
Inventing Montana and perhaps one of the most extensive collections of sporting literature, old and new in the Midwest, may be found at Great Lakes Fly Fishing Company www.troutmoor.net/ in Rockford, Michigan. Your guide through it all is proprietor Glen Blackwood, who loves writing, books, and sharing the joy that flows from a great book read. Pay him a visit; he will steer you to a book—perhaps your Inventing Montana—that you’ll enjoy as much or more than I.
Captain Tom Kuieck